Sheffield Eagles must be ‘controlled and disciplined’ against Batley Bulldogs

Mark Aston says tomorrow night’s game is one for cool heads as a number of his Sheffield Eagles flock prepare to face their former club.

Thursday, 28th February 2019, 9:20 am
Updated Thursday, 28th February 2019, 9:22 am
James Davey in action for Sheffield Eagles against Batley Bulldogs

The Eagles host Batley Bulldogs at the OLP (7.45pm) having taken four players from Mount Pleasant during the close season, whilst Matt Diskin’s side are also set to host a cluster of former Eagles.

Former Bulldog James Davey has been included in Aston’s 19-man squad as he looks to shake off a hamstring issue, whilst Brad Knowles (rib) has also been named.

Joel Farrell, Jason Crookes, Pat Walker and Davey will all be keen to impress, but director of rugby Aston has called for a level headed approach from his unbeaten side.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

“There are players who have played for both teams, so there is a bit of rivalry there,” he told The Star.

“We need to be controlled and disciplined. The likes of Faz (Farrell) have shown a maturity in recent weeks, so he needs to keep on with that.

“We are trying to tighten Crooksey up a little because he has been a little sloppy on his discipline, that’ll be the key. They have a point to prove, Batley know what they are like so they may try and wind them up.

“We need to make sure we start the game with a high tempo and try and get them blowing a little, because they have had a quick turnaround, whereas we haven’t had a game.

“James (Davey) trained Tuesday and he didn’t get a reaction, so he’ll be in contention. There’s a tough decision to be made because Greg Burns did well against Bradford, so that’s something we’ll have to make.”

Meanwhile, Aston says his concerns are still with stricken club Widnes following last weekend’s postponement.

Widnes’ future remains unclear amid their failed takeover, and it also remains unclear whether the Eagles will be awarded the points after the late cancellation.

Aston said: “The most important thing is Widnes as a club. We helped by cancelling the game but the RFL will make the decision on the points. It is a hard one for us if they make us play mid-week against them. I would hope the integrity of the game will be upheld and they’ll award us the points.

“That’s for a later date though, the most important thing is that Widnes come out of the other end and secure their future.”